(US/UK/France - 1986)
Directed by H. Sala (Henri Sala). Written by Georges Faget-Benard and Robert Seidman. Cast: Debbie Laster, Dale Midkiff, Debra Hunter, Robert Burke, Lori Lewis, Preston Maybank, Wellington Meffert, Kim Dossin, Andrea Thompson, Kimberley Stahl, Bruce Morton, Karen Mayo, Nick James, Dean Gates, Marc Gottlieb. (Unrated, 86 mins)
PIECES. TROLL 2. MIAMI CONNECTION. THE ROOM. GETEVEN. There are bad movies and then there are bad movies that take the art of bad movies to another level of cinematic nirvana. Films made with sincerity but so misguided and thoroughly bizarre that they simply must be seen to be disbelieved. You can add 1986's NIGHTMARE WEEKEND to that by-no-means comprehensive list. Just out on Blu-ray (Blu-ray!) from the folks at Vinegar Syndrome, the insane NIGHTMARE WEEKEND is poised to break out as the next great Bad Movie sensation. A US-British-French co-production starring American actors and shot in Ocala, FL in 1984 by a French crew headed by a director who didn't speak English, couldn't communicate with his cast, and was primarily known for his work in French hardcore porn (helming such classics as S COMME SPERME and CLUB PORNO POUR CHATTES ENRAGEES), NIGHTMARE WEEKEND is so deliriously bonkers that it feels like a lost Jess Franco film, only somehow less coherent.
Kung-fu professor? Retired tennis pro-turned-cop going undercover as a tennis pro? Lead detective letting Cosby-sweater-wearing, Horshack-looking campus babe magnet take over the murder investigation?) and it's almost as funny. The communication breakdown between all involved parties is apparent in nearly every frame. NIGHTMARE WEEKEND seems like the pieces of at least three movies stitched together at random. Though it was shot with live sound, the audio was tossed for some reason, leading to the American actors--including three young up-and-comers and one Brit who would go onto varying levels of success in years to come--all being dubbed over by other voice actors, giving it a distinctly foreign vibe that only adds to its ludicrous charms. According to cast member and American co-producer Marc Gottlieb, who gave up acting after this movie and became a Wall Street lawyer, the French script by Georges Faget-Benard was rewritten multiple times, both by a credited Robert Seidman (a co-writer on 1984's ALPHABET CITY) and by an uncredited Gottlieb. No one had any idea what was going on, and it's obvious when you see the finished product. When the action cuts three times between one set of characters and two others in a sex scene, and the two actors in the sex scene go from 1) naked and fucking to 2) clothed and talking to 3) naked and fucking again, it's almost offensive that someone in the closing credits is actually credited with "continuity." You had one job, Christine Rondwasser.
The plot--and I use the term loosely--focuses on three college girls on a weekend getaway at a mansion where they're the unwitting subjects of a scientific experiment. A behavior-based computer program called "APACHE" has been developed by the respected Edward Brake (Wellington Meffert) but has been hijacked for nefarious purposes by his bitch-on-wheels assistant Julie Clingstone (Debbie Laster). Clingstone has sad-sack hunk Ken (Dale Midkiff, a few years away from the NBC miniseries ELVIS & ME and the blockbuster hit PET SEMATARY)--who's still grieving over the death of his best buddy Bob (Preston Maybank) in another botched Clingstone experiment--under her thumb but she also has to contend with his attraction to Brake's daughter Jessica (Debra Hunter). Jessica spends a lot of time messing around with the APACHE program on a computer she calls "George" (played by a Coleco Adam), which has a sentient hand-puppet attachment that keeps demanding "More data please!" Meanwhile, there's constant cutaways to a local bar/arcade called Stag, where badass stud Dave (future ROBOCOP and DUST DEVIL Robert John Burke, currently guest starring on a network or cable TV show near you) has sex with a woman (Karen Mayo) on a pinball machine, an idiot named Tony (Bruce Morton) dances around to the music on his Walkman, and the alcoholic Brake limo driver is given "special sandwiches" by the bartender, a stealth way to disguise his drinking by putting a mini-bar bottle in between two slices of bread. Eventually, all of these parties end up at the Brake estate, where various hook-ups take place (even the Walkman guy gets laid!) and Clingstone unleashes the full power of APACHE, which materializes in the form of small silver balls that force themselves down the mouth of their victim and turn them into zombies.
|"More data, please!"|